Man United aren’t tired…they’re just reverting to type

Date published: Thursday 23rd July 2020 10:07

Send your thoughts on Man United, fatigue and c**** to theeditor@football365.com

 

Reverting to type
Some Man United musings;

I’ve seen many put United’s recent form down to fatigue. They’re playing twice a week. Footballers have been doing that for decades and these days their clubs spend millions on nutritionists and sports scientists to turn these lads into literally the fittest athletes in all of sports. They’re not playing badly because they’re tired.

This team is just reverting to type. Wan Bissaka is the only defensive player who doesn’t need to be replaced. Pogba is unfortunately proving himself to be a luxury player, Rashford either has concentration issues or he’s just not as good as we all thought and they’re playing for a bang average manager.

AWB coming on the end of half time points to either a panicked decision or poor planning. The players have no idea what to do when Bruno and Pogba are pressed, suggesting the upturn in results really was all down to Bruno as opposed to Ole having a tactical epiphany or something. There used to be a player in the squad who could have found a hole in the West Ham defence but United decided he wanted too much money, or that he was “too small” if you want to buy into the bullshit. The whole team bar AWB, Martial and Greenwood played like they knew two draws would be enough to qualify for the CL. A lack of urgency in almost the whole team is the responsibility of the coach.

On the plus side, Martial is really looking like he may have finally gone up a level and Greenwood is keeping up his sensational form. Also, hopefully, this run might help the board see that they need to stick to the plan they had for the managers position before Bruno came in. They gave him the permanent job after getting caught up in the hype of that new manager bounce. They surely can’t make the same mistake again. Ole is not the man.

Also, anyone else think it seems obvious that Bruno and Pogba should swap positions?
Eamonn, Dublin 

 

Dear c****,

You used to be the best football site on the net.  I’ve been afraid to admit to myself that you’ve been circling the drain for a while now.  This afternoon, I found this headline on your website:

“Man Utd are running on empty but might have enough fuel left”

The world is exhausted from dealing with the fallout of the virus.  The millionaire footballers referenced in the above headline just got the longest break they will get in their professional lives:  over 100 days without any football matches to play.  We even changed the rules for them so that there are now 5 substitutions.  Please do NOT EVER f**king mention footballers being tired again.  Its the worst bullsh*t I’ve ever seen or heard and I have lived with Donald Trump as my president for the last three and half years.  Kindly f*** off.

Regards,
Bruce Conners, Los Angeles, CA

 


READ: Leicester v Manchester United is highlight of a Big Weekend


 

Poor but not out
Well that was a pretty abject performance. We looked tired and lethargic for most of the game and wouldn’t have deserved a win had it come. The passing was slow and laboured and we ran out of ideas because our main creative sparks didn’t turn up.

Pogba had a really poor game, the penalty probably summed up his evening. He should have been busting a gut to make up for it in the second half but the game just passed him by. Fernandes also had a poor game, which meant the front three were trying to make things happen without much service, akin to our winter dip in form. I don’t blame the front three, they are young and prone to patches of inconsistency, so needed the more experienced players to turn up.

The game highlighted when the players miss the crowd most. We scored the equaliser, usually OT would be bouncing and dragging the players on to get the winner. Instead we went back to passive, slow and tired. We have done so well to get in the mix for top 4, but to throw it away now we would only have ourselves to blame.

So one match left, effectively a cup final – we always seem to do it the hard way. The players need to show up and give 100% for 90 mins. Leicester will be well up for it, we need to be too. Forget about the last few matches, lift your heads up and get the job done. Come on United!
Garey Vance, MUFC

 

Commentator grievances
I’ll take that. I know it’s only a point but it’s enough to get us above Chelsea and Leicester. It’s a point won from behind too. Whatever happened before we needed two draws to get CL. One down, one to go.

Now yes, the performance wasn’t great, but it’s clear the players are exhausted. We’ve played a lot of matches in a very short space of time with minimal ‘pre-season’ and minimal rotation. Would any manager rotate his squad so much when he a) needs to win every game and b) is on a long unbeaten streak? As other have said it proves that United’s strength in depth isn’t there yet. Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford all played pretty terribly, but tiredness is almost certainly the primary cause.

Was anyone else annoyed by the Sky commentators going on about how United ‘had to win the game’ and a draw didn’t leave them ‘in the driving seat’? We could have lost this game 10-0 and still been in the driving seat, a win against Leicester would always have got us CL. The only thing this does is make a draw good enough for us now, but that’s hardly a spectacular difference. It’s their job and they’re being paid to just be objectively wrong.

Currently Chelsea are losing to Liverpool, if they lose to Wolves (not an unusual result) then a draw would actually get both Leicester and United CL at the expense of Chelsea.
Calum (£80m odd spent already, and they want Chilwell, Rice, and Havertz for another £200m, would be funny if Chelsea missed out on CL altogether), MUFC, Wokingham

 

The truth Havertz
Does anybody know if Havertz can play in defence? Or in goal?

Asking for a friend.
James (CFC) Gravesend.

 

Will power
Switched off after that shocking free kick decision for the second.

Was the final straw after Willian showing yet again why I’m right in saying we’ll be a million times better without him. Dreadful.
Adam, Midlands.

 

Hope, life and Liverpool
The year is 2005, really not sure how I was already supporting the club for so many years, I was only 17 then, have never been to Britain, but I was feeling a part of all it. Gerrard was the name always on my mind. Alonso maybe.

Anyway, I did something that day I swore I would never again, I turned off the TV at half time, heartbroken I was. As a 17-year-old, I didn’t really understand what hope is, or a normal comeback for that matter. I didn’t sleep properly, woke up in the morning like when we do with a nightmare, confused & lost, though it wasn’t a nightmare, was it, must have lost 5 nil, the feeling when I turned on the TV, is something I would never forget, How the hell, shaking I was. No YouTube, so I couldn’t see any of those moments for quite some time.

What I mean is football I like a life lesson, that just keeps on happening, when I said I’d never do it again I did it again on the night fairy tale came to life. I never saw the Barca game thinking we had no chance. That was the first time I wrote here, a regret I’d always have. Hope right. Hope, how can I do it twice. Lfc has ingrained the meaning of Hope in me now.

I love Liverpool, & it has shaped my life, it is shaping my life as I write. I wasn’t born there, but I wish I were ( to the same parents of course.) I identify with the city, I identify with hard work & with Jurgen’s philosophy for life- everything. I read about Shankly & Paisley. I cried a lot when City lost at Chelsea & swore it again, I WILL NEVER TURN THE Television OFF AGAIN. And I am waiting to cry again tonight when we finally get our hands the trophy.

To Hope
Abhishek 

 

I like F365 because it tries to be different. Fans get to have their say. This can at times be very infuriating. But I can get to have my say.

I am mourning my dad’s death this year. I got him to a couple of games this season just as he did with me from 1976.

It is and it isn’t about football. The lines are blurred with Liverpool.  Is it about football or about politics? I’m old enough to know how the city was deliberately left to rot by the politicians. I remain continually angry about this.

All I want to say is please respect me for savouring this moment for the city of Liverpool and my old man.
David lfc 

 

I’m 29 years old. Been the only liverpool supporter in a family of United I have heard every slagging since before I can remember. Tonight is worth every minute of that from school to college to work. The best part… as and irish person when I go to Liverpool every year, I feel the connection. For every immigrant from Ireland that landed in Liverpool. Every club is a family but this means more. Atleast to us.
Mark. Dublin 

 

I’ve read a lot of mails these last few weeks mainly from Man U fans trying to put a dampener on what we have done this season. Well I can tell u as a 31 year old Liverpool fan this is the best feeling I have ever had.

Watch out because we will win 20 and 21 and 22 before u even dream of 21. You lot are starting to sound like us with ur new dawns missing piece of the jigsaw etc. U ain’t winning any league with Harry Maguire at the back. Let’s put it this way he was part of the same back 4 that we paid 8mil for Robbo from.
RyAn Liverpool the city is alright with parties

 

Man, amazing. Just… amazing.

A very special moment was seeing Dalglish hand the trophy to Henderson, the man who placed faith in Hendo in the first place, and brought him to the club.

It would have been so much nicer with the fans in the stadium, is an understatement.

These boys really love the tune “Show me love” by Robin S, they were playing it at the celebration party too and in the stadium today. Great track.

What an amazing period of time this has been as a Liverpool fan. I am grateful for every single trophy we have lifted during it. And I have no doubt whatsoever, that there is a lot more to come still.

Congratulations Liverpool fans. 30 years wait ended. We are living historic moments.
johnnyWicky

 

Calm the Arteta crush down
Interesting article about Arsenal
after Tuesday’s loss. Very reasonable and measured. Tactical improvements can only go so far in covering lack of quality. As we’ve seen with Allison, Van Dijk, Bruno, some problems can only be solved with a change of personnel. Arteta has done reasonably well considering the circumstances and, most importantly, gives Arsenal fans reason for optimism which is something they’ve not always had in years past.

But what is not reasonable is the premature and unhelpful insistence on proclaiming Arteta a genius. First he was among the best 5 tacticians and now apparently, along with Chris Wilder, is worth considering as an alternative for manager of the year! Some have pointed out, perhaps unfairly, the biased opinions on this site in support of Arteta but even you have got to admit you’re pushing it a bit too far.

And it doesn’t help him. The unnecessary hype brings greater scrutiny and it renders the little improvements made inadequate. After all, cynics may point out that he took over a team in 11th, 9 points below Chelsea in 4th and one behind Burnley after 18 games. 19 games after, he has dragged them all the way up to 10th, 9 points behind Leicester in 4th and – you guessed it – one behind Burnley. Statistically, no steps forward. The only reason they are higher – by one place – is because Newcastle have reverted to their mean and dropped out of the top half. Now, does that tell the full story? Probably not but creating expectations he may never meet is the last thing he needs right now.

It seems even more ridiculous when compared to the reactions to managers in similar situations like Ole and Lampard. Both had far better starts but when the inevitable bad results came, their competence and suitability was immediately questioned. Others have made the point for Ole so I’ll  leave that. But Google ‘f365’s early loser: Lampard’ and you will find at least four instances when Lampard’s credentials and tactical acumen have been questioned. We were constantly reminded that he was under-qualified and lacking in experience after every poor game. In Arteta’s case, it’s because of an ‘imbalanced squad with critical shortages’ and never about his ability. Apparently, almost guiding a Championship side to promotion or winning league titles in Norway are irrelevant. Being Guardiola’s assistant is the only qualification anyone needs for a Big Six job. The only other new manager who has largely avoided censure over his team’s poor performances is Ancelotti, and with several European and league titles in his cabinet – unlike Arteta – has earned that right.

Matching Watford’s achievement last season – a mid-table finish and an FA cup final – and recording Arsenal’s lowest league finish in 25 years is far from spectacular. Give him the time he needs to mold the team and fully implement his ideas (with hopefully reinforcements in the market) before anointing him Guardiola ll™.
AY

 

What about Brendan?
Lampard takes perennially well funded big club who finished 3rd last year…to (best case) 3rd this year…scoring roughly the same number of goals while conceding 10 more…

Arteta takes (slightly less) well funded big club who finished 5th last year…to 5th this year (if table only existed since he joined).

Rodgers takes mid table sensibly funded (but not big spenders) who finished 9th last year…to probably 5th…possibly 4th this year…while scoring 15+ more goals and conceding 10 less…

We all enjoy a wry smile at some of Brendan’s self infatuation sometimes, but credit where it’s due. Leicester are a far smaller club and just because the timing of their stumbling form has come in the second half of the season (rather than the other way around) that doesn’t diminish the Foxes achievement. We may talk more about Arsenal and Chelsea because more of us are fans of those clubs (giving them more air time) but….Brendan for manager of the year!
Ben Rodgers (Tongue in cheek troll time: Klopp, +1 position, scoring less goals, similar points. Par! Brendan to Liverpool)

 

Wilder thing
Full disclosure:  Bitter blue here.

Now, with that out of the way, Klopp is “clearly” Manager of the Year according to F365?  Really?  Clearly?  One manager won the league with a team that should have won the league or at least challenged for the league and has been in the mix for the past several years.  Another manager had his newly promoted side challenging for Europe and played very good football all season long in addition to being nowhere near the predicted relegation zone.

I’m certainly not saying that Klopp doesn’t deserve manager of the year.  Only a fool would say that.  He did a fantastic job with a Liverpool side that swept all before them (man, I hate just saying that…yuck…) but to say he “clearly” deserves it over what Chris Wilder did with Sheffield United this season is a bit over the top for me.  If you want to say he “clearly” deserves manager of the year because Liverpool finally won the league after 30 years, that’s fine.  But “clearly” Chris Wilder is in with a shout.
TX Bill (Everton have an entire midfield for sale…any takers??  Hello?? Bueller? Bueller?) EFC

 

Can I speak to the manager, please?
Read Johnny Nicholson’s piece, don’t believe in good/bad managers – but there are “fits” to clubs, and fans tend to see it more than football writers who (pre-televised football world) watch the odd game on Super Sunday and highlights on MoTD to form opinions.

Take Moyes’ negative substitutions: Fine if you’re managing Everton, West Ham or similar, where nicking a goal is an aberration and must be protected at all costs – but at United he consistently disrupted/dented the performance of the team by bringing Smalling on at right back after 60 mins. Ole’s the same, Sheffield away earlier this season: horrendously bad for 70 mins, 2-0 down. Changes to two up-front with Rashford and James playing out wide and we score 3 goals in 10 mins (and could have had more) – the second we took the lead Ole immediately reverts to a 4-3-3, surrendering all initiative and a late equaliser.

I feel pretty confident in saying that Mourinho has gotten more points for Tottenham this season than if they’d managed to hire Guardiola or Klopp (imagine N’Dombele gegenpressing?) for the last 6-months. But whilst the latter two have shown they can only really play well in one formation/with very specific player qualities, give them a couple of years and a few hundred million and they’ll produce a world-class team playing that formation. Mourinho failed at that. But he won the Champions League with two pretty average teams. So.. different fits.

My issue as a United fan is that tactically Ole isn’t ready for Manchester United. He is excellent at negative, counter-attacking tactics to nullify better teams/managers, and he’s stumbled upon a Bruno to help him unlock negative, counter-attacking tactics. But any deviation from either plan is a ***ing car crash. We have the luxury of a lot of money to sit and hope that Ole becomes a better fit as he develops, and/or the team fits into his idea of long-term rebuild.

But for clubs where that isn’t going to happen I don’t see the issue with fans calling for a manager’s head when they can see (better than most) it isn’t working.
Simon (Phil Thompson accuses this mail of a “lack of respect”) MUFC

 

Also – given I now have to watch Pogba cost us goal after goal after goal and Matic circle himself like a really gormless dog chasing its tail..

Stop republishing/referencing your “Scholes was overrated” shite.

I was there – he was magnificent.
Simon

 

Sorry, me again.

Just read Johnny Nic’s article on the managers and loved this part:

“We tend to judge the manager by his mistakes first and foremost. Take Moyes again. He often makes negative substitutions to hold on to what they’ve got, be it a draw or win. When this doesn’t work, fans get really sodding annoyed but when it does, there isn’t a parallel amount of praise.”

Annoyed?  Johnny ought to ask Everton fans what they thought when Moyes would take Phil Neville out of his DM role only to put Johnny Heitinga in there, and we were behind !!!  Annoyed?  How about massive amounts of bleach drinking.
TX Bill (I did love me some Johnny Heitinga though) EFC

 

Breaking rank
This is being written before both games tonight (I thought it would be more fun that way), but the five alternative managers article got me thinking. I want to rank the managers this season and I’m sure there will be many that disagree. At clubs where the manager has been sacked then the manager that did the best or was there longest is used.

1) Klopp – Liverpool fans mostly won’t care, but this team’s fall off after the restart is a shame. Not in a sense that really matters but just for the fact that how incredibly good they were before it deserved a few records. Yes, the title is there and that’s what matters, but opportunities to get those kind of point totals or any other records don’t come around often. Chelsea’s stood for 13 years I think before the Centurions. It was a chance to leave a mark on the league so that in five/ ten years time people would still be forced to talk about this side outside Liverpool. But still, to get to that position where that’s a little disappointing, is a credit to Klopp.

2) Wilder – Because I love his interviews, his tactics and making individuals that shouldn’t work as well, work well in a system.

3) Dyche – See above. Many people, from supposedly top pundits to normal fans, dismiss defensive tactics and appetite to compete (see Liverpool vs. Atletico or similar such games), and they are, in my opinion, fools. Not every team can play exciting and not every team needs to.

4) Bruce – Got stick from a lot of corners (including fans) before he even started. The point made by Dyer after the Brighton game is valid: if Benitez done what Bruce had done, he’d be lauded. The best praise I can give him is that for the first time in a long time (take-over talk excepted),  there’s very little noise from anything to do with Newcastle right now. A web of negativity has left them for more than a few months. Kudos.

5) Nuno – Similar to Wilder and Dyche, except with more talented individuals. Or to put it simpler, many Wolves players could be good for another team, how many of Sheffield United’s or Burnley’s players would be?

6) Ralphy – Got drubbed 9-0 and looked certain for relegation or at the very least, a deep relegation fight. Closer to Arsenal in tenth and mid-table, than to Newcastle below them.

7/8) Lampard/ Ole – I’m cheating but there’s logic. Chelsea didn’t spend any money in the transfer market but Lampard had a better squad. United couldn’t score for large parts of the season and Chelsea couldn’t defend. Neither manager lost their team or their club backing along the way, and always bounced back. One point between the sides is a fair reflection of them both.

9) Rodgers – Not on the same scale, but similar to Liverpool. If they miss out on CL football then it is only a slight disappointment because of the bar they set. Rodgers should be higher here and could have a massive problem with a few things next year, but just on this season, he has done well.

10) Pearson – From where he took over to where he left them is impressive. Also, has there ever been a more pointless sacking? No offence to Watford but the City game was going to be lost regardless. They essentially sacked him with one game left, when there were no rumours of an unhappy team. Bizarre.

11) Arteta – On table position alone, Arsenal look unchanged. In reality, they have more resilience and he is getting the best out of some very bad defensive parts. Without him, it’s genuinely odd to think what position a club of Arsenal’s size would be in the table.

12) Hodgson – Old man Roy has had Palace safe for a while now. Would be higher if it wasn’t for the lack of motivation to get them any higher once being safe. But still, he’s just doing his thing and there is never anything bad out of the Palace camp.

13) Guardiola – Nine losses is bad for this team. It’s on him that Kompany wasn’t replaced and that he had to play his best CDM as a CB for most of the season. They still score for fun when they win, but the wins weren’t a barage as we have come to expect because of the pointed problems.

14) Mourinho – Has done well on league positioning tables since he took over, but still, Spurs reached a CL final and high league positions with most of these players because there are many good players. Lloris, Son and Kane especially would waltz into most teams above them. He didn’t need to get them to play well, he just needed to get them to play any way normal.

15) Moyes – Came in to save the club from relegation and has done that.

16) Ancelotti – Seamus Coleman pointed out that these players have hid behind managers for too long, and he’s right. But Ancelotti has put no viable fear in them or taken away that spoiled nature, the kind of thing Big Dunc did in his short tenure. For his pedigree, that’s a problem. They still don’t possess anything other than two or three players being good.

17) Potter – They play good football and are safe, but it feels like the way he wants them to play is sticking your hand in a fire and hoping you won’t get burned.

18) Howe – He was riddled with injuries and since he wants to play attacking football, his most potent creator taking a season off was a big blow. But like Guardiola, the transfer mistakes are on him.

19) Smith – It took him three quarters of a season and a lockdown to realise what Dyche and Wilder already know: if you concede goals, you will struggle. Also relied on Grealish being good for too long.

20) Farke – Norwich, aside from Farke, had their reasons for making the decisions they made and I get that, but the stats are pretty awful. 5 wins, 26 goals scored, 70 goals conceded. That warrants no praise.

That was fun.
James, Galway

 

Lampard and Ole both proved me right but I decided to move Ole above him because I didn’t realise just how bad that defence is for Chelsea: more goals conceded than Everton, Brighton and Palace and only 5 behind a team who lost a game 9-0.

Look, I was always going to have to write a follow-up mail. And there it is.
James, Galway

 

You’ve crossed the line now
Please can we stop the ‘if Villa survive it’ll be down to that point vs Sheff Utd’ Hawkeye nonsense – a la Bladey Mick. No offence, that’s just the latest comment I’ve seen on it.

It suggests that every other decision made this season was correct. Yes, I know this one was so blatantly wrong.

There was a half of football to go after it. It is not 100% a point gained.

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa on 31st Aug and the ghost goal. It was the last kick of the game. That is 100% a point that Villa were robbed of.

So yeah. Stop it now. Please.

Ta,
Gary (AVFC)

 

Couple of mails about Villa benefiting from the tech failure against Sheffield Utd (no arguments there, we got away with one), but it feels like we’ve been screwed several times this season by awful refereeing, the peak being this disallowed goal against Palace which would’ve equalised the game right at the end.


In my (biased) eyes, these basically cancel each other out, we gain a point against Sheffield Utd to make up for the one we lost against Palace. Assuming we manage to stay up (by no means a done deal), we’ll have done so through the incompetence of the teams below us, not because we were outrageously lucky with a missed goal (which we were).
James

 

Heroes and Villans
Since there were no mails from Villa fans yesterday morning, I thought I should chip in with something. Since “project restart”, I have been firmly in the “meh” camp, and had happily made peace with the fact we were going down. Honestly, I didn’t even care, and football really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

However, the wife has gone to see the in-laws, so I finished work and as was custom prior to covid, I sat down with a beer and stuck the footy on. Watford V City is always good for goals, should be fun…

By full time I was entertained, but still didn’t think it would matter as no way would we beat Arsenal.

Then Sky started hyping our game up, Micah Richards jinxed us by saying we would win and by kickoff I was a nervous wreck. (The beers didn’t help)

What followed was an insanely tense tactical display from Villa, something we have struggled to maintain this season, full of workrate, energy, concentration and a little luck. Every one of them fought for each other and the club and were a credit to the shirt.

In short, fuck you football. Fuck you Sky. I thought I was out and you’ve pulled me back in.

God I love this game.
Nik (VTID, apparently)

 

Another Russia Report
Like an idiot I delved into the comment section after the mailbox on Wednesday afternoon, and there were the net spend chaps for Chelsea, claiming it’s unfair to say that Chelsea are in any way playing with a criminal Russian cheat code.

Stop it.

Just stop it.

Lets have a little decade long wander down the pavement on Reality Road, shall we?

Please note all figures should be in euros not pounds but I can’t be bothered to find the symbol.

In 08/09 Chelsea spent £14 million LESS on transfers than they received.

In 09/10 Chelsea spent £26 million more on transfers than they received.

In 10/11 Chelsea spent £105 million more on transfers than they received.

In 11/12 Chelsea spent £64 million more on transfers than they received.

In 12/13 Chelsea spent £84.25 million more on transfers than they received.

In 13/14 Chelsea spent £52.4 million more on transfers than they received.

In 14/15 Chelsea spent £5 million LESS on transfers than they received.

In 15/16 Chelsea spent £3 million more on transfers than they received.

In 16/17 Chelsea spent £23 million more on transfers than they received.

In 17/18 Chelsea spent £59.9 million more on transfers than they received.

In 18/19 Chelsea spent £136.5 million more on transfers than they received.

(All figures sourced from transfermarkt.com)

So over the last ten seasons, Chelseas netspend is minus £531 million.

That’s a lot of shirts that all those really beautiful and cool and sexy international fans that Chelsea definitely have but who all go to another school so you can’t meet them must have bought.

This season for completions sake, Chelsea are currently in credit on transfers to the tune of £112 million.

That doesn’t include the cost of either Ziyech (£44m) or Werner (£53 million).

So there you go, netspend chaps. If you ignore the half billion that just appeared magically to spend over the last decade, you have a whole £15m of this seasons netspend left.

You made me do this and it was boring, so please just accept your Russian criminal money is just as bad for the game as Citys UAE criminal money and be quiet.

Now I’m going to watch my Fulham team who have never been owned by anyone dodgy ever honest not get automatic promotion.
Tim Sutton

 

More Chelsea thoughts
Glen, Stratford Spur asked in the Afternoon Mailbox if he as being a miserable dick, I would say not, as a Chelsea fan I am quite chuffed with our season, we came into the season knowing that Eden Hazard was leaving, Project Sarri-Ball was abandoned, Transfer Ban and a Chelsea legend but still inexperienced manager in Frank Lampard was taking charge, what were our realistic expectations at the start of the season? Well for me a Top 6 finish and maybe a nice run in a cup.

12 months later, Chelsea have secured a Top 6 spot, they are in the FA Cup Final, blooded through multiple promising youth players, oh and signed Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, if you had offered any of that to any Chelsea fan back in July last year I do believe we would have taken it and run away laughing with joy.

Right now we are indeed stumbling, defeats to Sheffield United and West Ham in recent game weeks suggest just that, but then again last season we lost to Bournemouth 4-0 and the season before that we lost to Burnley, a Crystal Palace side that had not won a point or even scored a goal for 7 matches, West Ham, Bournemouth (again) and then Newcastle on the final match day, so surprise losses are nothing new for us.

However I must disagree with Tim Sutton about Chelsea struggling to make the Top 4 next season, on one condition of course, defence has been an issue this season yes, but so has scoring goals, Ziyech, Werner, Pulisic and potentially Havertz will take us attack wise to the next level and do I really see Leicester, Spurs or Arsenal challenging for the Top 4 next year? No, no i do not, however we really need a new goalkeeper, that is the condition, Kepa is truly dreadful, he has had two seasons and last season he showed a poor attitude like in the League Cup final, this season he can’t save anything that’s hit at him, starting to feel sorry for Luis Enrique, choosing between DDG and Kepa, ouch.

In conclusion, sign a new keeper and we likely secure Top 4 next season, failure to do so, it’s Top 6 again.
Mikey, CFC 

 

The pursuit of happiness
In response to ‘Glen, Stratford Spur’ and his inquiry as to whether any set of fans, other than Liverpool fans, are truly ‘happy’ with their season, I would respond as follows:

1)  As an MUFC fan (born and bred in Trafford, but now living in Liverpool) hearing all of the fireworks, which seem to go-off at every available opportunity; plus seeing all of the house-mounted bunting and flags etc. – I can assure you that, alone, the Kopites’ happiness quotient is so stratospherically high, as to be sufficient for the entire country.  Speaking radiatively.

2)  Man City fans have seen the emergence of Phil Foden – a kid from the academy.  Nothing used to make my City-supporting friends happier than seeing a new academy kid hitting the high-notes.  Then, they didn’t have a lot else to be happy about, back in the day like.  Assuming that remains the same, as I suspect that it does, then City fans are probably quite happy.  They will be even happier if they manage to win the Champions League.  They are also no longer banned from the CL next year – this must be quite happiness-inducing, I’d imagine.

3)  Chelsea have watched their fan-favorite, ‘fat’ Frank Lampard rebuild the team using load of young academy players, and coming-in a comfortable third.  If I was a Chelsea fan, then I would be very happy with that.  They have basically bettered ManU at our own game, without the seven or eight years of shite that it took us to get there.  And without spending a lot of cash either.

4 / 5)  Quite how happy Leicester fans are, I don’t know.  I would estimate that the baseline is pretty high, however, there will be a peak or a trough after United come to the Walker’s for the potential 4th place play-off.

4/5)  United.  I’m happy, whatever happens.  I didn’t expect to see Pogba in a United shirt again, I really didn’t.  Whether he has apologised for being such an arsehole or whether I had totally misread the situation, and he was never in the ‘bad-books’ at all, we may never know.  However the season ends, I’ve seen enough cracking football since Rashford returned (and the Fernandes signing), that I’m smiling broadly.  Do you really think a set of fans that can look forward to the United line-up as-is, plus one or two equally excellent signings next year, could possibly be truly unhappy?  Exactly.  We’re all good, my bud.

6th and below)  Everyone else is probably non-plussed-at-best.  Wolves, Spurs and Everton fans are probably quite miserable, along with relegated fans.  Contextually speaking, as you say.

Arsenal)  If I was an Arsenal fan, I might be able to pretend to be happy.  I might even achieve a convincing rendition thereof, if Arteta and his boys can bring home another FA Cup.

However, I would imagine that the biting reality that such an achievement would stand as a pale comparison to the latter-day, ‘mediocre’ achievements of the widely-lambasted Arsene Wenger, might provide more than a little piss to my heretofore, quite pitifully small bonfire – perhaps even before I’d actually managed to light the bastard as well.

Best,
DD, MUFC, Liverpool (I wasn’t born here, gimme an f-in break, Jeez.)

 

Why?
Catching up on the mailbox after a few days of (non-Covid) illness and noticed another entry from William Douglas Foster. I am completely baffled about why he even visits F365 since it just seems to make him angry and would be interested if he could explain. I don’t intend to send any judgemental follow up mails. I just can’t get my head around it.

So what do you get out of the site?
NorthernSoul (NUFC)

 

Right on cue
This Manchester United side has had so much smoke blown up its arse but I feel the need to advise that they are now third and, whilst still in danger of a disastrous season of no silverware and no Champions League qualification, I don’t believe there’s a single writer in ABU365 Towers who’s betting against them finishing in the top four.

Where are Arsenal again? Still tenth? Ok.

So… Arteta and Lampard both being mentioned as Alternative Manager of the season is looking fairly hilarious now, right? I’m sure Ole’s omission was just a rare oversight though.

Keep up the good work guys.
William Douglas Foster, Stretford

 

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